U18s match report: Liverpool beaten at Derby in Premier League North finale

AcademyU18s match report: Liverpool beaten at Derby in Premier League North finale

By Joe Urquhart


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Liverpool U18s ended their 2023-24 Premier League North campaign with a 5-1 defeat by Derby County on Saturday afternoon.

A young Reds outfit were beaten by an opening goal from Lennon Wheeldon, a hat-trick from Justin Oguntolu, with substitute Marcel Tola rounding out the scoring to give the home side a comfortable victory.

Josh Sonni-Lambie was the lone scorer for Liverpool, latching on to a through ball from Kareem Ahmed to finish well.

The hosts began on the front foot and signalled their intent in the opening five minutes of the contest.

Cruz Allen shot low and forced goalkeeper Nathan Morana into a good save, while Keyrol Figueroa responded in similar fashion in the opposite box.

Derby, however, enjoyed much of the early play and opened the scoring in minute 10 via Wheeldon, who converted a low cross from Billy Gough inside the six-yard box.

The Rams then pressed home their advantage by working a number of chances to add to the scoreline with Owen Eames, Oguntolu and Wheeldon going close, as the latter tested the reactions of Morana from the edge of the area.

As the half continued, Liverpool responded to the early deficit with pressure of their own.

Joe Bradshaw forced home goalkeeper Harley Price into a strong save, while Lucas Pitt’s driving run almost resulted in Rams midfielder Harry Hawkins turning the ball into his own net.

However, it was Derby who added to the scoreline next, with the Reds caught in possession at the back, Oguntolu raced in to find the bottom corner of the net.

Sonni-Lambie almost reduced the lead minutes before the half-time break, but the forward saw his dipping effort from distance crash against the crossbar.

Again, though, it was the Rams who found the back of the net in added time at the end of the half, with Oguntolu grabbing his second of the afternoon, converting from close range.

Liverpool began the second period on the front foot, with Ahmed going closest amid a succession of chances, seeing his curling effort punched clear.

The game continued to ebb and flow with both sides exchanging possession though neither team were able to create any clear-cut chances.

Shortly after the hour, Derby broke through the Reds back line, but Morana was equal to Allen’s low effort, saving with his legs to keep the score at three.

Sonni-Lambie and Ranel Young both saw openings come and go as Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side attempted to haul themselves onto the scoresheet, which much of their play deserved.

With 15 minutes remaining, though, Oguntolu bagged his hat-trick in what was a clinical display from the Rams midfielder, latching on to a ball to finish high into the net.

Liverpool eventually found a way through the Derby defence with three minutes remaining, as Sonni-Lambie raced clear of the back four to calmly finish off a brilliant pass from Ahmed.

It was the Rams, however, who had the final say of the afternoon with substitute Tola adding a fifth goal in the final minute of the contest.

Liverpool U18s: Morana, Pitt, Lonmeni, Furnell-Gill, Airoboma, Ahmed, Bradshaw (O’Connor, 62), Onanuga, Figueroa, Sonni-Lambie, Young (Evers, 69).

Unused sub: Bernard.



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.